Carolina Panthers

Uber driver sobs that ex-Panther Michael Oher ‘bit me;’ distress wouldn’t end there

Former Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher, right, who faces misdemeanor charges of assaulting an Uber driver, has been sued in connection with the incident.
Former Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher, right, who faces misdemeanor charges of assaulting an Uber driver, has been sued in connection with the incident. AP

The fear in Girma Berkessa’s voice – his tone switches from calm to terror seemingly instantly – is clear as he talks to a Nashville 911 dispatcher in April about an alleged assault by former Carolina Panthers lineman Michael Oher.

Berkessa, a Nashville Uber driver, filed a lawsuit against Oher on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

In a call released in a video on The Tennessean website, Berkessa – breathing heavily, crying at times and sounding panicked at others – relays his account of the incident.

“I’m (being) attacked right now,” Berkessa says. “He just attacked me ... He bit me. My back.”

“Do you need an ambulance?” the dispatcher asks.

“I need a cop right now,” he says repeatedly. “I think he’s a (Tennessee) Titans player.”

Oher had called Uber to get a ride to a Nashville comedy club, according to the Tennessean. The lawsuit contends that Oher pushed and kicked the driver over a dispute about the fare. It also states that Oher had asked the driver to follow his wife’s car and became enraged when Berkessa lost the car in traffic.

In the complaint, Berkessa says an “extremely intoxicated” Oher pushed him to the ground, kicked him and repeatedly called him a homophobic slur on April 14. The Uber driver contends that Oher “acted maliciously, intentionally, willfully, wantonly, recklessly and/or negligently.”

The complaint doesn’t appear to mention the biting, according to the Washington Post.

Oher’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment, AP reported Friday afternoon. A hearing scheduled for Friday on a misdemeanor assault case that resulted from the incident has been delayed until Oct. 31.

Oher has had a rough week. Thursday, the Carolina Panthers released Oher, known for being the subject of the movie “The Blind Side,” after he failed a physical.

Oher has been in the NFL’s concussion protocol since September. He finished the season on injured reserve and didn’t take part in team workouts during last month’s minicamp. Instead, Oher planned to meet with team doctors.

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